I Love Broken Cisterns and Dirty Water
When I was in high school, it was always fun to play the prank to put stuff in someone’s drink when they stepped away from the table. You could dump salt in their coke, fill their tea with pepper juice and otherwise case mischief. It was always great to see a big reaction when the friend returned to the table and took a swig of Dr. Pepper that tasted like soy sauce. Inevitably that friend would laugh, order another drink and plot his revenge.
But what wouldn’t happen is that person keeping their be-spoiled drink. It was gross.
Jeremiah calls out ancient Israel and us for the same thing. He says, the Lord has these two problems with you. First, you have abandoned him (a free flowing spring of pure water) and second, you have dug your own cisterns which hold no water and whats left at the bottom is dirty and gross.
Well good thing for us, we have city water, right?
Unfortunately, no. More often than not, I turn to my idols to provide me with something that I feel I am not getting from Christ. This is difficult because sometimes the love and acceptance of Christ is somewhat intangible and abstract.
I want people to do what I expect so that I am provided with comfort. We want our kids to act right in public so we can have the adoration of all the over parents around. We want our spouses to love us so that we feel better about our self-worth. We want the elders of our churches to bend to our wills. We want the doctor to shrug and say that the cancer is benign.
The problem is not with having comfort, good kids, or a loving spouse; the problem is wanting these things to serve as our Gods. Only in Christ can we truly have acceptance and the love we truly desire. Until I revel in what Christ has done for me, I am just wallowing around in and drinking my dirty nasty cistern water.
And the problem with cistern water is that it does not refresh. It never quenches the thirst that it says it will. And there in is where our anger and frustration begin. When our idols fail to deliver, we get angry. We get frustrated. And most the time, we jump deeper into the arms of those very same idols.
The Gospel breaks this cycle by reminding us that we are already accepted. I saw on twitter yesterday and now I can’t find it, a quote that goes something like this:
You can tell that you have grown in your understanding and trust of the gospel when you are more willing to disappoint people.
What is it that you feel like you aren’t getting from Christ? How does the Gospel say that he is already providing it?